• chevron_right

      ISPs claim broadband prices aren’t too high—Biden admin isn’t buying it

      Jon Brodkin · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 14 May, 2021 - 18:38 · 1 minute

    Illustration of Internet data and dollar signs

    Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Guirong Hao)

    Biden administration officials are not convinced by the broadband industry's claims that Internet prices aren't too high, according to a report today by Axios .

    The White House announced on March 31 that President Biden "is committed to working with Congress to find a solution to reduce Internet prices for all Americans." Though Biden hasn't revealed exactly how he intends to reduce prices, the announcement set off a flurry of lobbying by trade groups representing ISPs to convince Biden and the public that Americans are not paying too much for Internet access. ISPs even claim that prices have dropped, despite government data showing that the price Americans pay has risen four times faster than inflation.

    A Biden official told Axios that the ISPs have not made a convincing case. "A senior administration official told Axios the bulk of the evidence shows prices have gone up recently and prices are higher than they are for comparable plans in Europe," Axios wrote. "Biden noted the high cost of Internet service in March, and the official told Axios, 'I don't think we've seen anything since he made those comments to make us feel like we were wrong about that. We're still committed to taking some bold action to make sure that we bring those prices down for folks.'"

    Read 21 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    • chevron_right

      Merck/J&J deal may help US get enough vaccine for all adults by end of May

      Beth Mole · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 3 March, 2021 - 02:51 · 1 minute

    US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the government

    Enlarge / US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the government's pandemic response, including the recently announced partnership between Johnson & Johnson and Merck to produce more Johnson & Johnson vaccine, as US Vice President Kamala Harris (L) looks on at the White House in Washington, DC on March 2, 2021. (credit: Getty | Jim Watson )

    With a White House-brokered deal, vaccine giant Merck has agreed to help Johnson & Johnson boost its COVID-19 vaccine production, which is woefully behind on its manufacturing schedule.

    President Joe Biden announced today that, with the new deal, the country is on track to have enough COVID-19 vaccine doses to vaccinate every adult in the country by the end of May—two months ahead of earlier plans.

    “About three weeks ago, we were able to say that we’ll have enough vaccine supply for adults by the end of July,” the president said in an afternoon address. “And I’m pleased to announce today, as a consequence of the stepped-up process that I’ve ordered and just outlined, this country will have enough vaccine supply—I’ll say it again—for every adult in America by the end of May. By the end of May. That’s progress—important progress.”

    Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    • chevron_right

      Biden DOJ halts Trump admin lawsuit against Calif. net neutrality rules

      Jon Brodkin · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Monday, 8 February, 2021 - 22:32 · 1 minute

    An Ethernet cable and fiber optic wires.

    Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Rafe Swan)

    The Biden administration has abandoned a Trump-era lawsuit that sought to block California's net neutrality law. In a court filing today, the US Department of Justice said it "hereby gives notice of its voluntary dismissal of this case." Shortly after, the court announced that the case is "dismissed in its entirety" and "all pending motions in this action are denied as moot."

    The case began when Trump's DOJ sued California in September 2018 in US District Court for the Eastern District of California, trying to block a state net neutrality law similar to the US net neutrality law repealed by the Ajit Pai-led FCC . Though Pai's FCC lost an attempt to impose a blanket, nationwide preemption of any state net neutrality law, the US government's lawsuit against the California law was moving forward in the final months of the Trump administration.

    The Biden DOJ's voluntary dismissal of the case puts an end to that. "I am pleased that the Department of Justice has withdrawn this lawsuit," FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said today. "When the FCC, over my objection, rolled back its net neutrality policies, states like California sought to fill the void with their own laws. By taking this step, Washington is listening to the American people, who overwhelmingly support an open Internet, and is charting a course to once again make net neutrality the law of the land."

    Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    • chevron_right

      Biden’s approach to climate: Calling it a crisis and treating it that way

      John Timmer · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 28 January, 2021 - 19:55 · 1 minute

    A woman speaks while a man stands behind her.

    Enlarge / National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry answer questions during a press briefing at the White House. (credit: Drew Angerer / Getty Images )

    Yesterday, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order entitled Putting the Climate Crisis at the Center of United States Foreign Policy and National Security . The document is sweeping, laying out a climate-focused agenda for the new administration and redirecting nearly every area of government to rethink its operations to bring them in line with that agenda. Targeted areas of government include everything from US diplomacy to the buildings that the government owns.

    It's difficult to overstate how large a difference this represents not only from the Trump administration, which treated climate change as if it didn't exist, but even the Obama administration, which didn't even attempt to tackle the climate until part way through its second term. Biden referred to the climate as a crisis during his campaign, and this document indicates his planned policies will actually reflect that language.

    Foreign and domestic

    Executive orders are limited in what they can do, in that they are limited by what's allowed under existing laws; they can't simply create new powers that don't exist. There's a considerable flexibility, however, in how existing laws are interpreted or which aspects of administration are emphasized. And this is perhaps truest in the area of diplomacy where, outside of treaties and sanctions, the government has extensive flexibility in terms of how it manages its relationships with other nations.

    Read 18 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    • chevron_right

      A look at all of Biden’s changes to energy and environmental regulations

      John Timmer · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 22 January, 2021 - 00:58 · 1 minute

    Image of a man seated at a desk with a woman standing behind him.

    Enlarge / U.S. President Joe Biden signs an executive order with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, left, looking on. (credit: Bloomberg/Getty Images )

    The series of executive orders signed by Joe Biden on his first evening in office included a heavy focus on environmental regulations. Some of the high profile actions had been signaled in advance—we're back in the Paris Agreement! The Keystone pipeline's been put on indefinite hold!

    But the suite of executive orders includes a long list that targets plenty of the changes Trump made in energy and environmental policies, many of which will have more subtle but significant effects of how the United States does business. Many of those make major changes, in some cases by eliminating policies adopted during the Trump years, a number of which we covered at the time. So, we've attempted to take a comprehensive look at Biden's actions and their potential impacts.

    Laws, rules, and policies

    Environmental and energy regulations are set through three main mechanisms. The first is by specific laws, which would require the cooperation of both houses of Congress to change. Next are also more general laws, like the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. These enable regulations to be put in place via a formal rule-making process run by the agencies of the executive branch. This process involves soliciting public feedback, incorporating economic considerations, and so on, a process that typically takes anywhere from eight months to over a year. Finally, the executive branch can set policies to cover details not spelled out by the law or the rule, such as how to handle things like deadlines and enforcement details.

    Read 18 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    • chevron_right

      Big ISPs pause donations to 147 Republicans who tried to reverse Biden’s win

      Jon Brodkin · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 12 January, 2021 - 18:14

    Illustration of the Republican Party

    Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | SilverV)

    Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon say they have suspended political donations to the 147 Republican members of Congress who voted against certifying Electoral College results, but the companies left the door open for resuming campaign contributions to those lawmakers in the future.

    "We will be suspending contributions in 2021 to any member of Congress who voted in favor of objecting to the election results," a Verizon spokesperson said, according to Light Reading . We asked Verizon if the suspension of donations will last throughout 2021 and will update this article if we get a response.

    "The peaceful transition of power is a foundation of America's democracy," Comcast said in a statement yesterday. After "the appalling violence" at the US Capitol last week, "our focus needs to be on working together for the good of the entire nation. Consistent with this view, we will suspend all of our political contributions to those elected officials who voted against certification of the Electoral College votes, which will give us the opportunity to review our political giving policies and practices."

    Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    • chevron_right

      Biden says he’ll nix Trump policy of holding back 50% of vaccine supply

      Beth Mole · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 8 January, 2021 - 18:31

    President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks January 07, 2021 in Wilmington, Delaware.

    Enlarge / President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks January 07, 2021 in Wilmington, Delaware. (credit: Getty | Chip Somodevilla )

    President-elect Joe Biden is reportedly planning to ditch the current Trump Administration policy of withholding half of all available COVID-19 doses to ensure that the requisite second doses are available, according to a report by CNN .

    Instead, the incoming administration plans to release the full available supply to states and jurisdictions.

    "The President-elect believes we must accelerate distribution of the vaccine while continuing to ensure the Americans who need it most get it as soon as possible. He supports releasing available doses immediately and believes the government should stop holding back vaccine supply so we can get more shots in Americans' arms now," TJ Ducklo, a spokesman for Biden's transition told CNN. "He will share additional details next week on how his administration will begin releasing available doses when he assumes office on January 20th."

    Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

    • chevron_right

      Coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx will retire after Biden transition

      John Timmer · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 23 December, 2020 - 17:19 · 1 minute

    Image of a woman speaking in front of charts.

    Enlarge / White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx speaks during a press briefing in November 2020. (credit: Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images )

    On Tuesday, Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx announced that she will end decades of government service after the Biden transition is completed. The move comes after controversy over how she spent her Thanksgiving and articles suggesting that the incoming administration was uncertain about whether to retain her. Birx was a widely respected public health official until taking over the coronavirus response, which has left her associated with the misinformation provided by Trump and many other members of his administration.

    Damaged legacy

    Birx's government career started in the 1980s, when she was in the Army and Army Reserve, ultimately reaching the rank of Colonel. During this time, she frequently worked at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, but also spent time in the lab of Anthony Fauci at the National Institutes of Health. But much of her reputation is based on her work fighting AIDS, first at the CDC, and later as the US Global AIDS Coordinator, where her work was widely praised.

    That reputation earned her a prominent place in the US' response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with Trump naming her the Coronavirus Response Coordinator, and giving her an influential place on the Whitehouse's Coronavirus Task Force. This, however, ultimately placed her in an untenable position, as Trump himself was a frequent source of misinformation about the pandemic, and much of the White House staff frequently ignored public health guidance originating elsewhere in the government. Birx was left with what turned out to be an impossible task: maintain her job and influence by not publicly contradicting Trump's misstatements and and policies while attempting to ensure that the public got quality information.

    Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments